Part of the re-vamp I’m undertaking of English Curriculum Studies 1 to ‘make it my own’ is to use the first tutorial as time to:
- get to know each other and form reading groups, and
- start the students building their online PLN, or personal learning network
Bianca is a key node in my personal learning network, and her thoughts, arguments and resource links pervade my personal learning environment – we follow each other on Twitter, read each others blogs and are connected as friends on Facebook. For me this illustrates two important elements I have found to be instrumental in building my PLN
- that learning happens everywhere (even in ‘personal’ spaces like Facebook)
- that a good learning environment is ‘personal’ in a very literal sense – friendly, generous and warm
It’s worth recording some of the building blocks of our collaboration thus far. I’ll pick up the thread where I saw Bianca’s tweeting away while she prepared English lessons for Term 1 at the end of the summer holiday and started asking questions, to which she replied:
I had heard about PBL, but hadn’t used it well so far myself. So I asked Bianca for some help because…well, that’s one of the lessons of this story really. She’s in my PLN. I know she’ll send me what she can, when she can. As a learner, I’ve had an opportunity to personally ask her though about what it is I want to know. And because I want to teach PBL, I know I need to learn more about it, and draw on the expertise of others:
SUCCESS! A willing expert!
To maximise Bianca’s willingness to let me pick her brain, I emailed her some more specific questions about what I wanted to learn:
Now Bianca is back at school and has preparing materials for her ‘Innovator’s Workshop’, while I’ve been busy working away on thesis corrections and planning the learning sequence for my English Curriculum Studies Unit CLB018. This has included making a blogging ‘hub’ for the tutorial groups to compliment the QUT Blackboard resources and a twitter account for unit related tweets. She’s created a Prezi with the information she would like to share about PBL with my class (yesss!) and now even if we don’t get a video interview or link of some sort as I had originally envisaged, I feel like I have enough material to move forward and teach this concept to my pre-service teachers.
Bianca’s Prezi includes a Common Craft video about personal learning networks, which links to the website for bie.org , so now I also have two killer links to refer people on to who are new to PBL. Are you? Why not watch the common craft video now, you’ve come this far:
So, THAT is the story of how having a PLN that you love and put energy into building pays back in spades.
If nothing else I hope that giving my students this path and these tools for expanding their personal learning environments will encourage them to look forward to learning again. If they read this post they will see that learning done well doesn’t limit itself to one space, one person, or one network. I won’t be able to teach them everything I think is important about English Curriculum in nine weeks, and that’s why equipping them with the motivation and capability to keep learning beyond week 9 is priority number one.
Thanks Bianca for being in my PLN and for being part of this story :)